Teatr Porywacze Cial / Body Snatchers Theatre was founded in 1992 by Katarzyna Pawlowska and Maciej Adamczyk. The company is one of the most interesting phenomena to emerge out of today’s modern theatre in Poland. Their shows are filled of quotations, film aesthetics and references to modern cultural reality, as well maintaining a personal touch when they deal with complicated relationships between people and the desperate search for truth and completeness.
The fact that the company’s performances touch upon relevant issues and hold high artistic quality, has earned them not only a loyal audience following, but also numerous awards at various festivals. In 1997, the company was awarded the "Young Art Medal" for "creative passion" and they are one of the most significant autonomous theatre companies in Poland. Since the very beginning of their existence, they have attempted to "read" the “new reality” - the way they work being a result of a conscious decision to maintain an individual program and character in their art that not repeat well-known schemes.
The Porywacze Ciał Theatre is made up of professional actors who have chosen to work in a non-institutional theatre. In their performances, the artists consciously use parody and pastiche, signs and symbols of modern culture; they confront literary texts with vulgarisms, masterpieces with kitsch, and quotations from literary culture with quotations from pop culture. They are contemporary mannerists, acquainted with the attitude of ironists, provocateurs and eccentrics.
The distinctive feature of Body Snatchers Theatre is the photo of a big-busted woman [an actress Chesty Morgan], the character of the "Casanova" film by Federico Fellini. The style of Fellini, who also is considered a contemporary mannerist, is close to the practice of the company which consists in breaking up taboos and aesthetic habits, using humor as an indiscriminate bludgeon; surrealism, sexuality, the battle of sexual features - feminity and masculinity shown in episodic scenes ruled by changeable moods. The artists test different theatrical forms and conventions by using stylistics of vaudeville, cabarets, happenings and performances, playing the balance between the directness of psychodrama, and the distance of metaphors.
The performances of the Porywacze Ciał Theatre are autonomous and are aimed at forming complete statements. The theatre does not interpret literature, but rather uses its own texts, as well as film or musical quotations, and incorporates them fittingly into the structure of performance. With irony and reserve they comment on the "great new world". They accept and tame the new reality and play with the opportunities that arise in it, but at the same time staying aware of its hidden dangers. The theatre's name refers to the 1956 film by Don Siegel "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" in which people are replaced with their callous copies planted on the earth by aliens.
The characters from Porywacze Ciał’s performances show symptoms of "atrophy" of feelings. The successive performances not only experiment with a new convention or stage idea, but also express the gradation of emotions and the force of expression. Creating the mood of thought, language and form provocation, the artists trail "everyday mythologies" formed in the past the present by modern consumer society. Their performances express the existence of a carnival culture characterized by the pluralism of beliefs, styles of living and forms of behavior, and simultaneously, the loss of universal values. They show the contemporary man created by degraded myths and instincts; a man controlled by set patterns of behavior who displays an unbalanced personality.
Body Snatchers have created 20 original shows to date:
- "Psy" (Dogs) - 1993
- "I love you" - 1993
- "Świnie" (Pigs) - 1995
- "Autofobia" - 1996
- "Minimal" - 1997
- "Technologia sukcesu" (Technology of Success) - 1998
- "Vol. 7" - 2000
- "Artificial Breathing" - 2000 (out door)
- "The best of…" - 2001
- "Test" - 2002
- "Rekord" - 2003 (out door)
- "The Funny Faces Parade" – 2003 – street parade
- "Wszystkie grzechy są śmiertelne" (All Sins are Deadly) – 2004
- "Tajemnica w/g Gombrowicza" (The Mystery after Gombrowicz) – 2004
- "Very" – 2006 (Maciej Adamczyk solo project)
- "Ra Re" – 2006
- "Oun" – 2007(Kasia Pawłowska solo performance)
- "Cyclist" – 2008 – street parade
- "Correctomundo" – 2008
- "More Heart Core!" – 2009
- "Invasion by Body Snatchers" - 2010
The theatre has already performed in Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, Canada, England and Holland. They have appeared in the Sabat project by Teatr Ósmego Dnia and cooperated in projects with many other groups. The theatre holds drama workshops along with other drama activities.
In 2008 Maciej Adamczyk took part in an international theatre project called "Exodus" which was a cooperation of six theatre groups from Poland, Austria, Germany, France, Italy and Malta. He worked for a month in Jerusalem, interviewing people by sending image and voice live over the Internet to particular cities where the performance was then presented. "Exodus" showcases the initiative to create a genuine European Theatre and gives promises for future developments.
The Artistic Association "Porywacze Ciał & CO.", founded in 2001, aims to support interesting and promising artistic initiatives.
The group currently consists of Katarzyna Pawłowska and Maciej Adamczyk.